The Royal Hotel Caen Centreis one of the oldest hotels in Caen: once called Grand Hotel of the Place Royale, then Hotel Royal and even Kyriad (as we partnered this franchise for a short decade). The original sign, found in the rubble after the bombing of Caen in 1944, is still with us and keeps the past present! Already present in the first editions of prestigious tourist guides (now more than hundred-year-old!!), the ancient “Grand Hôtel” keeps telling its story through collections of engravings and period post cards, as well as through maps of the old CAEN city center… With the current building dating back to 1951 and the reconstruction of Caen, the hotel has gained in comfort what its façade has lost in terms of architectural sophistication. . . . For those who would like to know more, here is an extract from a beautiful book [“Caen yesterday and today”, Yves Lecouterier & Bernard Enjolras, 2000] in a section called “La rue de Strasbourg et l’hôtel de la place Royale”:
“Known as Horses Alley in the 17th Century, it is renamed rue de la Municipalité during the Revolution. After the Republic was decreed in September 1871, the rue de l’Impératrice (as it became in the meantime) was renamed rue de Strasbourg in memory of the Alsace region’s capital which was then occupied by the Germans. Starting at the Rue Saint Pierre, it opens up on to the Place de la République. In memory of the square’s old name, the hotel kept the Place Royale name. The hotel, which served as lodgings for the troupes passing through Caen, was succeeded by a second built in 1835 to accommodate stagecoaches and the following inscription is added to its façade: ‘Royal Messengers’. At the start of the 20th Century, this hotel while boasting comfortable rooms with electricity, central heating and a lift, also had an exceptional location overlooking the town hall gardens. Destroyed during the bombings, it was rebuilt in the same place and still overlooks the gardens of the Place de la République.”
The history of the Royal Hotel Caen Centre (hotel’s website)
Dhobi Ghat is an open air laundromat (lavoir) in Mumbai, India. The washers, known as dhobis, work in the open to clean clothes and linens from Mumbai’s hotels and hospitals. It was constructed in 1890.
At first, Dhobi Ghat presents a chaotic scene. However, a closer look brings out the order in the chaos. Lines and lines of washed clothes are hung out to dry in a manner that optimizes both time and space. This is a labor-intensive process, and the washermen, also called dhobis, have a system in place that takes care of washing, sorting, and ironing.
Behind the Scenes at Mumbai’s 140-Year-Old Dhobi Ghat
“I use a dhobi,” explained our guide Freni Avari. “His father used to work for my mother. We are continuing. It’s like family.”
She described how the dhobi system works. “He comes to the house once a week. Every household has a dhobi bag or container where all the clothes are kept. He doesn’t write down what he takes. He just knows,” said Freni. “He wraps them up in a bundle and takes them.”
Dhobi Ghats, the Outdoor Laundries of Mumbai
Entrance to the Winter Garden–Excelsior Hotel, Rome
Published: Edmond Fortier, 1920s
Postmark: possibly 1925
At one stall in the Kermel, that of Samba Beye, one can find bronze figures ranging from a few inches to several feet high, starting at $10 and climbing to hundreds of dollars. One piece depicted a seated man playing the cora, a stringed instrument made from a calabash, a gourdlike fruit; another was of a man playing a balafon, a xylophone with wooden keys resting on calabashes.
Another booth in the Kermel features paintings on glass (about $7), which are created by etching and then painting on the back of a piece of glass. The images are usually done in soft colors and often depict scenes of village life.
It is also at the Kermel that one finds the basket man, in one of the stalls that surround the central building. The afternoon of my visit, as a young man sat weaving cane, I chose from among hundreds of woven baskets that had an unfamiliar smell of freshness. My purchase – a set of three nesting baskets, a large open basket and a lidded, barrel-shaped basket – came to $11.
Shopper’s World; Dakar’s Markets: Strategies For Buyers (NY Times, 1985)
The covered Marché Kermel, behind Ave Sarraut and within walking distance of Marché Sandaga, sells a mixture of foodstuffs and souvenirs. It’s mainly worth visiting for the beautiful building that shelters its busy stalls. The original 1860 construction burnt down in 1994, but the 1997 reconstruction has been closely modelled on the building’s initial structure and decoration.
In 1865, a large shed on Kermel’s square was designed by the Department of Bridges and Roadways (le service des ponts et chaussées) of the colony of Senegal for the protection of commodities from dust, rain and sun. It was a strictly functional structure made of metal pillars and roofing, with no embellishment, intended, inter alia, to reduce the street-stall phenomenon that was condemned by the colonial administration.
The name ’Kermel’ (then Quermel) was probably a distortion of ’Kernel’ (quernel) – referring to the thriving regional commerce in grains and spices. Such functional, simple, and modest structures like Kermel’s first version were perfectly conformed with the initial needs of the colonial authorities, both British and French, especially in West Africa – the poor relative of other colonialisms in regions that were considered as more privileged and worthy of investment.
The transformation of the shed of Kermel into a semi-monumental market in the 1900s was in perfect conformity with these developments. The new version of Kermel was based on prefabricated iron foundation and its architectural design, winner of a competition closed on 31 October 1907, was in line with the form of the polygonal square. The work started in April 1908 and was completed by 1910. It included a prefabricated gallery encircling the main body of the building and a prefabricated metal skeleton that was casted in France. Kermel evokes qualities similar to the great metal markets which were erected in metropolitan France itself and in other European countries by the late nineteenth century.
(Re-)Producing the Marché Kermel
The Owl Drug Company was an American drugstore retailer with its headquarters in San Francisco. It was a subsidiary of Rexall stores at its peak in the 1920s through 1940s. The founder of the Owl Drug Company was Richard Elgin Miller, R.E. Miller. The company sold medicines and pills, and later ventured into cosmetics, perfumes, and other goods.
Synonymous with the splendour of Venice, the Hotel Danieli is considered one of the most famous hotels in the world. Its remarkable history begins in the 14th century when the hotel’s main building—the Palazzo Dandolo—was commissioned by the noble Venetian family Dandolo. Of the four Dandolos that served as the Doge of Venice, Enrico garnered the greatest fame when he conquered Constantinople in 1204 and returned to the city with a bounty of gold, marble and Byzantine artwork, some of which was later incorporated into the Palazzo Dandolo’s interiors.
Several centuries later, in 1822, Giuseppe Dal Niel rented part of the palazzo and converted it into a hotel, renaming it after his nickname “Danieli”. Little by little he bought all the floors and finally became sole owner. It was in the winter of 1833, that the scandalous love affair between George Sand and Alfred de Musset unfolded in Room 10.
In 1895, Mr. Genovesi and the Campi Bozzi & C. become the new owners of the hotel. They completed expensive renovations, adding electrical power, vapour radiators, and elevators to further the hotel’s reputation for luxurious accommodation. At this time, the hotel was also connected via bridge to the Casa Nuova Palace—the former seat of the Customs office—located across the Rio del Vin.
Hotel Danieli, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Venice